School board puts off insurance negotiation
By JEAN L. KAESS
CENTERVILLE — The St. Mary Parish School Board agreed to allow its consultant to begin negotiating on its behalf for group health insurance, but the consultant told them they may not want to move quite so quickly.
DJW Insurance Consultant James Perez presented to the board Thursday the premium-to-claims summary for the first third of the plan year that began in June.
“It’s not looking very good,” he told them, referring to the nearly equal amount of money paid in premiums as in claims.
When insurance companies look at how much to charge for premiums, one of the things they look at is that loss ratio, Perez explained. Currently, the loss ration through September is 99.82 percent.
There are 1,600 members of the school system’s group health insurance plan, and a full 40 percent of them are retirees, according to Perez, explaining part of the high expense. As people age, their health care needs increase.
There may be a saving grace, though, with the new calendar year. Deductibles will have to be met again beginning in January, so the amount the plan will be paying will drop off. Thus, the ratio will start to look better.
If the board chooses its time wisely to seek a renewal, it may be able to get better rates than it would if it began seeking insurance proposals now.
The board gave Perez permission to proceed as he sees fit in either requesting new proposals or negotiating with the existing company for group insurance that would commence in June 2012.
Also approved without discussion was a two-year dental insurance plan and consultant contract renewals for property and casualty insurance and group benefits.
In other financial information, Chief Financial Officer Alton Perry reported total sales tax collections remain about 6 percent below budget.
In October, the school system collected $1.54 million. That’s 7.8 percent below the $1.67 million budgeted for the month. This leaves the actual collections of $5.6 million at $346,953 below budgeted totals for the first four months of the fiscal year.
In other, unrelated action, the board:
—Agreed to sell the E.A. Crowell Building, currently used as Franklin City Hall, to the City of Franklin, and the portion of land being used for parking for no more than $35,000. The gym, cafeteria and surrounding land are not included in this sale.
—Heard a report from Superintendent Donald Aguillard on teacher value-added scores and the progress of Young Memorial vacating the Franklin campus.
—Approved a litigation agreement regarding civil litigation with BP Exploration and Production. In this action, the school system is joining a larger group to position itself in preparation for a civil suit against BP.
—Approved a resolution canvassing the returns and declaring the result of the special election held Oct. 22 to renew the school board’s 11.18 mill property tax.
—Received bids for school food service items and paper cleaning products.
—Approved a proclamation declaring today Veterans’ Day.
—Gave permission for Berwick High School students to travel to Washington, D.C., in January.